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Classic R #27 Build

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Classic R #27 Build Empty Classic R #27 Build

Post by comled on Sat Dec 26, 2015 6:27 pm

#27 is a Classic R, 2015 spec, with a 3.8L Buick V6 Series III engine (L26) and Tremec T-5 transmission. I don’t see too much information about this configuration out there: the preferred V6 combination seems to be the supercharged version, and there’s a lot of attention paid to the V8 LS variants so I’m going to share what I can about my L26 build in the hope that it will be of some use.

My daughter Bekah and I are going to do this build. The plan is that we will do the dry-run build together as time permits, then dismantle and send out the parts to the powder coater. Then over the summer and fall she will take over the final assembly while I move on to a go-kart project with my son.

Links to Build Topics
Because of the way this particular forum works I posted separate topics for part of the build. Here are forum links to each of those topics:

TopicForum Link
Front and Rear Suspension Dry Fit
Hubs, Calipers, Flexible Brake Hoses
Brake Booster, Dash, Pedals and Steering
Clutch Remote Reservoir
Brake Line Installation
Throttle Body and Engine Dry Fit
Alternator, Oil Filter Adapter and Belt Installation
Cooling System
Gear Shift
Steering Shaft
Dash and Instrumentation
Fuel System
Fuel Tank Sender
Wheels and Tires
Seats and Belts
Exhaust System
Parking Brake
Starter Motor and Ring Gear
Final Assembly

Useful Suppliers
These parts suppliers may be useful for someone digging around to source parts for a Classic R/L26 spec car.

Aircraft Spruce and Specialty Co.
Decent quality hardware and other bits and pieces. I bought my accordion rivet spacing gauge here.

All Star Standard Transmission
A great source for remanufactured transmissions. My T5 came from these guys. Somehow they make that greasy worn-out stick shift core unit look like new. Hopefully it works ok. A core charge applied on my purchase so factor that in if you don't have a core unit.
Used part search engine that searches a national network of used part suppliiers saving you the legwork. Absolutely invaluable.

Car Builder Solutions
UK-based supplier of various kit car parts including wing mirrors. Get their print catalog if you can: it's a good read

The Chromed Hog
Supplier of fancy looking dressup parts for hogs. I bought some chromed dress-up acorn head bolt covers to clean up the cylinder head bolts on my engine from them

Don's Auto Mall
Automotive used parts. I bought my engine and carrier assembly from these guys. They have sites near Quakertown, PA and Binghamton, NY. If one site doesn't have what you need the other one probably does and they will transfer parts between sites for you. Their stuff is clean and the prices were better than the local competition, and there was no core charge on the engine I got from them.

Company specializing in quoting for shipping by searching a range of freight providers. saves you legwork. I found the service to be just fine. They will want a credit card on file and they will charge your card as soon as you approve the quote. However they were good about rescheduling and making changes as needed.

H Bowers
UK-based supplier of Britax tail lights used on Caterhams

Miscellaneous hardware and tools.

Retro Classic Car Parts
UK-based supplier selling replica Wipac Series 210 reversing lights

Summit Racing
Invaluable source for just about everything. Steering parts, fuel system parts, electrical system parts, core plugs, you name it.

ProwireUSA (added 9/5/2016)
Source for electrical system parts. Competitive pricing on M22759/16 tefzel wire and Deutsch DT/DTM/DTP connectors

3800 v6 engine upgrade parts

Kit Contents (added 1/16/2016)
Brunton are a bit sketchy on the exact details of what ships in the kit. The web site provides a basic list under the level options for each model, but there's no definitive list that you can check off against, nor is there a packing slip in the crate with the shipment arrives. Here's what was in my shipment:

Fender stays x 2
Box of front and rear steering and suspension parts (A frames, rocker arms, knurled rods)
Throttle pedal assembly
Engine mounts
Transmission mount (wedge-shaped part)
Coleman steering rack
SPEC Clutch kit (pressure and friction plates, slave cylinder, centering tool)
Pair of headers (but no gaskets or studs)
Front and rear Gaz adjustable shocks
Prop shaft
Rear axle set
Engine wiring harness
Engine Management Computer (separate shipment)
2 exhausts (separate shipment)
Windshield brackets for attaching windshield to body
Flexible brake line set
Hard brake line set
Brake proportioning valve
Brake pads, front and rear
Brake master cylinder kit
Brake calipers, front and rear
Brake and clutch pedals
Front fenders
Rear fenders
Rear wraparound panel
V6 motor mount bolts
Alternator bracket assembly and bolts
Steering rack bolts
Front spindle bolts
Rear spindle bolts
Differential bolts
Heim joint kit
Front pushrod and shock absorber hardware
Front A arm hardware
Pedal and booster hardware
Rear A arm hardware
Wheel hub bearings x 4
Front and rear spindle plates
Caliper mounting brackets
Used brake booster
Brake master cylinder
Windshield template
Windshield surround

Sheet metal – floor panels x 2, side panels x 2, pre-folded transmission tunnel panel, tunnel and footwell panels, deck lid panel

Additionally, I purchased the following options:

Fuel line kit (purchased option) and fittings
Fuel tank (purchased option)
Northstar Throtle Body Kit

Additional Purchase items
The shopping list covers most of what's needed but there are some omissions over and above very basic hardware that should be included.

Bellhousing from a 1994-1995 Chevy S10. This isn't discussed anywhere and I would not have thought of it had I not bought a transmission without the bellhousing attached. I found out almost by accident that the Camaro bellhousing is unsatisfactory - it cants the transmission over at an angle of about 15 degrees so the shifter ends up in an odd place.

Transmission mount rubber adapters - they're not listed on the shopping list nor do I have a part number from Brunton. I used McMaster P/N 9376K54 (Vibration Damping Sandwich Mount, Male/Male, 3/8"-16, 7/8" H, 2-1/2" W, Natural Rubber). They fit but I don't know whether they are suitable for the purpose yet.

Pontiac Grand Prix 99 02 sensor - it's alluded to in the engine prep video but not shown on the shopping list for the 3.8L NA so I don't have a part number. There's only one 02 sensor port and it's in one of the headers so I assume what I need is the pre-catalytic converter sensor rather than the post-cat one. It's a $20 part so not a big deal if I do end up with the wrong one.

Build Notes
I intend #27 to be a street car and that’s partly why I didn’t go down the V8 route. I didn’t go the V6 SC route for purely aesthetic reasons: I like the smooth hood appearance and didn’t want anything more than a small bump visible from the outside. To accommodate the supercharger, the hood would have to be scooped, so no SC for me and I’ll take a hit in performance as the tradeoff.

1/16/2016 Note: Disappointingly,  the 3800 v6 NA does not fit under the smooth hood. The engine is about 1 3/8" too high at the water pump end to fit under the smooth hood. A bump will need to be added to the hood to accommodate the upper intake manifold and Northstar throttle body.

Classic R #27 Build Img_1916

#27 arrived in Pennsylvania last Thursday and I went down to the freight depot to pick it up on Friday with a rented U-haul pickup truck and 6’x12’ utility trailer.

Classic R #27 Build Img_1917

Some fork lift magic got it on the trailer

Classic R #27 Build Img_1912
Classic R #27 Build Img_1913

At home, I partially dismantled the crate while it was still on the trailer, unpacked and inventoried the contents and stowed everything away.

Classic R #27 Build Img_1914
The chassis was heavier than I expected and a friend helped me load it on the back of the mule and get it down to the workshop.

If you had looked out of the window of the nearby house around 4pm that afternoon you would have seen a frustrated Englishman trying to figure out how to get a pickup truck and 1400 lbs of trailer out of the mud it was stuck in. On a hill. Drifting progressively downhill toward a 10 foot drop. If you’d looked out a couple of hours later you’d have seen a large yellow tow truck recovering the whole rig out of the swampy mess the Englishman had made of his lawn. $335 later and the truck and trailer were back on terra firma.

Anyway with everything stowed and the packing crate tucked away for future use I went indoors, had a cup of tea and gave up for the day.

Here’s a use for some of that wonderful shipping crate material. I’m hoping to build the wire harness off-car and to accomplish that I’m going to take some of the shipping crate panels, cover them with a roll of paper and transfer a full size drawing of the chassis onto them so I can lay everything out. The location of most of the wired components is not really predetermined – it’s one of those customizable aspects of the build - so harness assembly will have to occur alongside construction of the rest of the car when I can see and understand how the electrics will fit. I really like the idea of a hand laced wiring loom and I was taught the basics of hand lacing back in trade school way back in the last century so I’m going to try it out and see what sort of result I can come up with.

Classic R #27 Build Img_2011
I ordered the Brunton custom fuel tank which ships inside chassis. To get it out, slide it through the side of the chassis.

Classic R #27 Build Img_2012
Classic R #27 Build Img_2013

In order to turn the chassis over on my own I had to use the shop crane. I couldn’t quite manage to get the back end over without help.

Classic R #27 Build Img_2010
I made the first floor pan cut on Christmas Day during a lull in the festive proceedings. In fact I had lined up the panels ready to mark up a few days before but a few busy days kept me from getting started. Now it feels as though things are actually under way. One thing I misunderstood about the floor panels was that they are different sizes. An email to Scott cleared that up and he indicated that the smaller panel belongs on the passenger side, the larger on the driver’s side.

Classic R #27 Build Dsc_7210

While I was waiting for the kit to arrive I got started on the engine. My L26 is from a 2007 Buick Lacrosse with 51K on the clock. I’ve no intention of rebuilding it at that mileage.

Classic R #27 Build Dsc_7310
It passed my leakdown test to confirm the top end condition, and I’m not going to mess with the bottom end unless I see oil pressure problems when it’s running.

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It’s a clean motor other than some minor block rust. I cleaned it up and painted it with black POR15 engine enamel, brushed on. I had used this on my MG project a few years ago and I think it’s a mixed bag. I don’t recommend it for smooth surfaces but on cast finish surfaces like the un-machined outside of the block it performs quite well. Two coats and the job was done.

I followed the build video for prepping the V6 SC and there were no real surprises except for the core plugs.

Classic R #27 Build Dsc_7317

I used a Dorman part 555-097 in the 1” opening in the water pump. All the plugs were installed with sealant.

Classic R #27 Build Dsc_7313

This is an oil gallery plug left over from the MG rebuild that I hand-filed and tapped into place with a hammer and some sealant.

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This location in the water jacket was opened up when the heater connections were removed. The hole was quite deep here and I installed a couple of plugs with sealant. These were Melling parts.

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In this spot I installed a core plug with sealant and put the original bracket back as the build video suggests.

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Here’s the belt tensioner cut with a hacksaw. The cut-off part starts out rather rough and ready but some shaping with an air grinder and hand filing quickly makes it look presentable.

Classic R #27 Build Dsc_7318

I test fitted the tensioner back on the engine. The disc on the front of the bracket will be discarded because it interferes with the pulley. When I assembled the pulley onto the tensioner I found it wouldn’t quite clear the rear of the bracket so I shimmed it with a hardware store washer about 1/16” thick so that the pulley would run smoothly.

Classic R #27 Build Dsc_7320

Looks quite presentable with a bit of shine on it.

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I picked up a carrier assembly from the same parts source as the engine. Like the engine, it was pretty clean but I decided to paint it. I cleaned the housing off with various solvents, wire brushes and some minor exterior blasting with a horrid $5 HF blaster I bought a few years back. I saved the Getrag label. We have a printer at work that prints on this type of medium so with time on my hands I decided to make a facsimile of it. I scanned it into digital form and made up a corresponding label that I’ll stick back on once the paint is finished. While I was about it I made up some Se7en labels from odds and ends of logos I filched from the web.

Classic R #27 Build Dsc_7325

Primed with an etch primer.

Classic R #27 Build Img_1911

I blew on a couple of coats of rattle can silver engine enamel and finished with clear coat. It looks quite presentable.

Classic R #27 Build Dsc_7324

No build project is complete without a build table and here’s mine. It’s a six wheeler so we’ve nicknamed it the Tyrrell in honour of the Tyrrell P34 F1 car.
1/16/2016 Note: with the build table in this configuration, the whole thing will tip forward when you install the engine and transmission with no weight in the back end of the car. I supported the front of the car on jack stands while I did my preliminary engine fit. I am going to modify the table to put some support forward under the engine so this doesn't happen later in the build.

Classic R #27 Build Img_1910

My casters are rated 300lbs apiece. I bought them at HF. When I got them home I suffered a bout of buyer’s remorse and decided to replace the spindle bolts with more trustworthy ones. I also drilled out the middle of each wheel to a half inch diameter and pressed in a bronze bearing that cost more than the original caster.

Currently I'm working on drilling the floor panels. More on that when I have something to share.


Last edited by comled on Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:29 am; edited 11 times in total (Reason for editing : Updated forum links)

Posts : 168
Join date : 2015-10-07
Location : New Hope, PA

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Classic R #27 Build Empty Re: Classic R #27 Build

Post by XL22 on Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:37 pm

Congrats! Looking great so far!



Posts : 88
Join date : 2015-06-05

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Post by comled on Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:53 pm

Thanks Brit, appreciate the comments! I enjoyed your build history for XL #22 over on - there's a lot of great information filed away over there.


2015 Stalker Classic R/L26 in progress
2010 Triumph Bonneville T100
1977 MGB
1973 Norton Commando MkII Interstate
1966 SWB Land Rover Series 2A
1960 Hammond A100
1949 Ford 8N

Posts : 168
Join date : 2015-10-07
Location : New Hope, PA

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Classic R #27 Build Empty Re: Classic R #27 Build

Post by comled on Sat Dec 26, 2015 10:22 pm

Some photos from today's sheet metal episode. I made my first floor pan cut yesterday so wanted to get at least one side finished today. I discovered just how rubbish retail-grade drill bits are, snapping two 1/8" bits in a matter of minutes. Either I'm really cack-handed at this stuff or the quality of bits has changed since I last had to buy one. I took my dog down to the hardware store and we bought a couple more.

Classic R #27 Build Img_2017

So here's my super floor pan installation toolkit. A steel rule for measuring the offset of the line of holes from the edge of the steel frame tubing; fine-tipped sharpie for marking out; an 'automatic' center punch for punching the hole location; an accordion rivet gauge for evenly spacing an arbitrary number of holes along a straight line; and clecos and cleco pliers. I learned about the accordion rivet gauge from another Stalker build diary, Shane Colley's #85 chassis. I really like the idea of this tool and it lets me off the hook from all that fractional arithmetic at markup time. Shane also bead-rolled his floor to add stiffness and I am contemplating doing that as well. I'll experiment on offcuts from the floor and see if I can't get an acceptable result.

Classic R #27 Build Img_2018

After marking out and drilling on the workbench, here's what I got. My measurements differed somewhat from the build video: on the outer edge I used 7/8" in from the edge instead of 1", and my inboard offset was 1/4" in from the edge.

Classic R #27 Build Img_2019

I cleaned up each hole with a 3/8" bit to cut off any swarf. I know, no-one's ever going to see it. But I'll know.

Classic R #27 Build Img_2014

First hole drilled and first cleco installed: a Stalker rite of passage. I didn't drill the corner first because it interferes with a weld and frankly I was expecting my one remaining 1/8" drill bit to snap in that somewhat harder weld material. So far so good.

Classic R #27 Build Img_2016

A few more holes drilled and clecos installed. This is going to take a while but it feels like progress.

Classic R #27 Build Img_2015

Bugger it. That's not right. Two problems I think. The first is my bargain basement #8 stainless square drive truss head screws may have been bargain priced for a reason. No more bargain hardware for me - thankfully I've learned that lesson early on. The square drive heads chewed up pretty fast too. Second lesson - for #8 self tapping screws the recommended drill hole size is somewhat larger than 1/8". I'll try a 9/64" bit tomorrow when I can get down to the store and track some down. I can't believe I don't have one on hand. Also, I ordered new #8 self tapping screws from Mcmaster-Carr. They ship from just over the border in NJ so their stuff is usually here next day if I order on a weekday.


Posts : 168
Join date : 2015-10-07
Location : New Hope, PA

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Post by comled on Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:18 am

Made some progress yesterday and today. I completed cutting and drilling for the driver's side floorpan. I've been using an electric jigsaw with a metal cutting blade installed and that seems to make relatively light work of cutting the big aluminum panels for the floors. I worked on my sheet metal screw issue from earlier this week: switching to a 9/64" drill bit helped, plus adding a small amount of anti sieze compound to each screw.

Classic R #27 Build Img_2020

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Everything cut, drilled, cleco'd, cleaned up and labelled. I want to clean up a couple of rusty spots on the chassis before I turn the car back over and start work on the topside.

A shipment arrived from McMaster today including the bolts I'd chosen for the engine mounts. My engine came with one bolt and the mounts call for six. The bolts I chose are flange bolts M12-1.75x20mm, McMaster P/N 98093A741.

Classic R #27 Build Img_2022

I made a test fit of both engine mounts to check that the bolts were going to do the job. The bolts are fine but I found that on both sides of the engine, there's a little projection on the block or the oil pan, can't recall which, that sticks out and holds the engine mount from fitting flush.

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Here's the projection; it's in roughly the same place on both the left and right side of the engine.

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It's just enough to hold the engine mount off by a small amount. I'm planning to trim the engine mount with a mini grinder so that it just fits around that little bump and that should make it lie flat.

Posts : 168
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Location : New Hope, PA

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Post by comled on Sat Jan 02, 2016 1:08 am

Made more progress today than I expected. Having finished up the floor pans I took the opportunity to raise the build table up off the floor another inch and some change.

Classic R #27 Build Img_2025

I did this because I couldn't get the leg of the shop crane to fit under the build table. Now it rolls underneath cleanly. On the other hand, it raises the whole thing up in the air another inch or so. I don't think that's necessarily a problem. It's easier for me to work at that height and there should still be enough ceiling clearance to raise the crane up when it comes time to install the engine and transmission. The only problem at this height is getting the car off the build table at the end of the process. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it though.

Classic R #27 Build Img_2026
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With the chassis turned back over I began on the rear seat panel. I didn't realize at first but the flanges either side point backwards, wrapping around the angled frame tubes. I used the angle finder as suggested in the writeup to trim the lower and upper cutouts so that the notch angles match the frame properly. However the video suggests cutting 1 3/4" up from the bottom: for my chassis this would have been way too much. I used only 1 1/4" from the bottom. I'm pleased with the fit: the angle is flush with the tube but just clears the weld.

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The tunnel cut was straightforward. I just used a framer's square to project the lines up from the floor either side of the tunnel, measuring down 11 1/4" from the top of the panel to achieve a flush fit. Again, all cuts were made with the electric jig saw against a straightedge clamped up on the bench and the cuts came out pretty flush with transmission tunnel tubing. I'm wondering now how I will deal with that U-shaped transmission tunnel as it differs from the one shown in the build videos.

Classic R #27 Build Img_2029

I'm pleased with the fit here. The top edge seems reasonably flush with the chassis but I had to clean up a couple of welds to get the panel to lie flat. I'm not so pleased though about the panel lying at an angle to the vertical face of the tube. With clamps on the top edge the panel distresses so I am thinking about putting a bend in along the top and bottom. I'll certainly do the bottom edge.

The lower edge of the panel sits about 1/4" off the floor pans. I'm glad I left the floor pans in place prior to flipping the car rather than removing them because it does highlight the problem. I had hoped there would be no gap but there is a small one there. I'd like to do something about it - have to think about that one.

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I'm sure this is a familiar sight to other Brunton builders. Next I'll make that bend along the bottom edge, and mark out and drill the angled and vertical inner tubes and along the bottom per the video instructions. Hopefully I can get the hip panels dealt with tomorrow as well.

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Location : New Hope, PA

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Post by comled on Sun Jan 03, 2016 7:21 pm

More sheet metal updates. I bent the top and bottom sections of the rear seat panel.

Classic R #27 Build Img_2033

A bending brake wouldn't work - plus I don't have one - so I clamped everything up on the bench to try to make the bend.

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I tacked a couple of bits of square tube together to get a piece exactly the same length as the fold I wanted to make in the top of the panel and bashed away with the hammer. I folded it the wrong way the first time so that didn't go so well. I straightened everything out and made another run at it. The bend is OK. With hindsight I should have just clamped the thinner part of the fold plus the square tube to a chassis rail and bent along the line with gentle pressure on the bigger part of the panel, and that's what I ended up doing to correct the bend because I overcooked it the second time around.

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With that done, I started thinking about the hip panels. I wanted to be sure I could get the drill into the corners for the holes on the lower chassis rail so a quick check was in order.

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Here's the passenger side panel notched and drilled pretty much as the build video describes. The driver's side panel required the same procedure and level of effort.

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Passenger side hip panel tacked into place with a few clecos. The fit was fine so I completed the driver's side panel too and then turned my attention to the rear U-section of the tunnel. This has been bothering me because there's no straightforward way to position the panel to trim it. I decided to try scribing it to a template that I would then use to transfer a cut line to the actual panel.

Classic R #27 Build Img_2037

I took a rectangular piece of styrene that I had left over from another project and put the shorter edge along the floor with the taller edge butted up against the rear panel tunnel opening. Using dividers I scribed along the profile of the tunnel opening, then inked the line in. I did the same for the driver's side, then cut along the line on the bandsaw and filed to fit as best I could.

Classic R #27 Build Img_2038

Here's the template clamped to the tunnel ready to transfer the line. I marked out the line then stopped for the day - I don't want to get this wrong so will cut it in the morning when I can come to it with a clear mind. I can tell I'm losing concentration because I got the driver and passenger sides mixed up. D'oh...

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Post by comled on Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:50 am

A few updates from last week. I had a busy work and family week so haven't worked on the car much but I did potter at a few things.

Classic R #27 Build Driver10

I cut the rear tunnel using the template I'd made. This is the driver's side where the tunnel abuts the rear seat panel. The fit is not bad - I'm satisfied with it anyway.

Classic R #27 Build Pass-r10

The same panel viewed from the passenger side...

Classic R #27 Build Top-re10

... and along the top. I haven't drilled anything yet. No hurry for that at the moment.

Classic R #27 Build Tunnel10

Cutting the rear this way results in a small overhang at the front of the tunnel. It's a little hard to see in the photo. I'll trim this off flush with the tube ready to line up with the next set of panels.

Classic R #27 Build Sheet-10

At this point I started thinking about the next set of panels and realized I didn't know which pieces of sheet metal to use. I tried allocating all the panels I had to locations on the chassis and came up with a fit for most of them but I was guessing. I ended up contacting Brunton for confirmation. More on the tunnel later as there are some other adjustments I want to make before I move onto the next set of panels.

On a completely different subject, I have been thinking about seats and upholstery. As this will be a street car I'm not all that keen on putting racing seats in, and I'd like something a little more bespoke. The original Lotus Seven bench seat approach looks simple but is probably not all that comfortable: it lacks any kind of lumbar support and does not incorporate headrests. So I'm looking for some middle ground. In any case I will be upholstering this by hand using fairly heavy upholstery vinyl and all the reading I've done points to using an industrial walking foot sewing machine with a big needle and nylon or polyester thread for best results. Case histories in automotive upholstery suggest there is no cost benefit to doing it yourself. By the time you factor in all the materials - foam, batting, adhesives, vinyl, threads - and tooling, the costs can easily exceed those you'd incur bunging in a couple of racing seats. I'm not deterred by this though because I want a little more finish on my interior than I've seen on the race-oriented Stalker builds.

For materials, I've been looking at some upholstery vinyls at Kovi Fabrics ( This stuff isn't cheap so before I attempt an actual seat cover I'll have to practice on a mock-up. I sent to Kovi for swatches - about half a dozen faux leathers in the traditional Lotus red color scheme.

Classic R #27 Build Poppy-10
Photo credit: KOVI fabrics

Here's one of the faux leathers from KOVI. It's a 30oz vinyl and it's red. VERY red. Nice quality though. Not everyone's cup of tea but I like it.

I figure I'd better learn to sew vinyl. Actually first I need to learn to sew, then learn to sew vinyl, so I lugged my wife's sewing machine down from the attic where it was gathering dust and had a few practice runs with it. Next day I grabbed a couple of feet of upholstery vinyl from the nearest JoAnn fabrics (comparable weight to the Kovi swatches that arrived) and some outdoor grade nylon thread. I found I could sew two layers fine but when you get to three layers (which is what you need to do a simple french seam) the stitch length gets out of control. So no-go with the old Kenmore I think, and I must look into getting hold of an actual walking foot machine.

Classic R #27 Build French10

Here's my most recent effort using wifey's Kenmore sewing machine. This is a French seam using three layers of vinyl. You can see where the stitch length gets uneven on the right hand side, about 2/3's of the way down, plus it's a straight as a dog's hind leg. It would be ok for a mockup but won't be up to the task for the final product.

I also started mapping out my electrics this week. I've decided I will build a custom fuse and relay panel rather than using the ezwiring product suggested in the shopping list. I really like what these guys have done ( and I'm picturing something like this Cobra panel they made for a customer:

Classic R #27 Build CobraPanel_med
Photo credit: CE Auto Electric Supply

In my take on this I'd route all of the connections through the middle of the panel rather than the outside and have them pass straight through the bulkhead into the dash area to make for a visually clean install without any exposed wiring in the engine bay. Top the whole thing with an aluminum weather proof cover and it would be a neat project. My preliminary circuit plan calls for 5 relay circuits (including a main ignition relay) and 15 fused circuits. It includes a lot of pork and a couple of spares. I will probably end up trimming back somewhat. 15 seems excessive.

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Post by comled on Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:10 am

More progress on the sheet metal yesterday. I mentioned in an earlier post that I had some tidy up work to do where the tunnel meets the rear seat panel. The panels come together at right angles on their edges, unattached, with no reinforcement holding them together. I wanted to close off the corner where they meet, so Bekah and I made some right angle sections out of 22ga aluminum to wrap the outer corner of the joint (where it's exposed to the road) and to allow the tunnel and rear seat panel to be joined along that edge. The older style rear tunnel shown in the video was made from two sections with a flange that allowed them to be joined to the rear seat panel. This attempts to do the same thing but with the flange hidden.

Classic R #27 Build Tunnel11

The right angle sections form a flange that the rear tunnel can attach to. Three holes with pop rivets will hold the flange to the rear seat panel and three holes with short sheet metal screws will attach the tunnel. I shimmed the rear panel against the chassis to tighten up the gap between the two panels while I was about it. It took a lot of work to get this set up: it's tight for space along that edge and the pop rivets will end up very close to the edge of the rear seat panel, but we were careful about the alignment and it came together. The pop rivets won't go in until final assembly because once they're in it's hard to remove the rear seat panel.

Classic R #27 Build Tunnel12

Here's the tunnel cleco'd in. Note where the clecos come in from the back side of the rear seat panel through the newly bent sections. That's where the rivets will go during final assembly. At this point in the assembly of the tunnel I was able to scribe the lines to trim the front of the panel flush to the chassis tube and trim it off.

Classic R #27 Build Tunnel13

The front of the U-section trimmed flush. This is a visible edge so it needs to be clean. The adjacent tunnel side panels will run under this edge.

Classic R #27 Build Tunnel14

I moved on to the driver's side forward tunnel panel. This is the smaller panel that sits outside the footwell to provide extra space around the pedal area. The forward edge of this panel needs a little bend in it, just a few degrees so it can fit flush to the forward chassis tube.

Classic R #27 Build Tunnel15

The panel notching is simple on this one and it doesn't take long to fit. I flushed mine up against the edge of the floor pan. This means the top edge drops down a bit but that edge will be out of sight.

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Post by Brian Degulis on Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:46 am

Looks like nice carefull work. For your drilling through steel try getting a few cans of CRC Brake cleaner (old style red spray can) It has TCE in it and turns steel into butter when drilling. Your bits will last much longer also.


Brian Degulis

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Post by comled on Tue Jan 12, 2016 7:14 am

That's a good tip Brian, thanks. I just happened to have a can of CRC brake cleaner on the cart so I tried it yesterday when I was finishing up the tunnel. It's certainly cleaner to work with the oil I was using before and it doesn't leave any kind of residue so it's easier to clean up.

Those cans of brake cleaner are amazingly versatile. I've probably used them more for other jobs than I have for cleaning brake parts.

After my early disasters with bits I switched to plain old HSS and haven't had any problems since but I've been more vigilant about keeping the bit cool.

2015 Stalker Classic R/L26 in progress
2010 Triumph Bonneville T100
1977 MGB
1973 Norton Commando MkII Interstate
1966 SWB Land Rover Series 2A
1960 Hammond A100
1949 Ford 8N

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Post by comled on Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:24 pm

I've been pushing to try to get the sheet metalwork complete so I can move on to the mechanical aspects of the build.

Classic R #27 Build Tunnel18

This 14.25" x 25" panel fills the gap between the forward driver's side panel and the rear tunnel. Installation is just a matter of notching, trimming to fit and drilling out. The rear edge of the panel tucks in behind the u-shaped rear tunnel section and goes in undrilled; I drilled through both panels to get a common set of mounting holes.

Classic R #27 Build Tunnel19

The passenger side tunnel panel is a bit more complicated. It requires a bend to flush it up to the frame at the front. Like the driver's side, the rear edge tucks in behind the u-shaped rear tunnel. Here, I'm making the bend in the leading edge of the panel.

Classic R #27 Build Tunnel16

The final tunnel panel to be installed is the tunnel top. At the rear it snugs up against the top edge of the u-shaped section; at the front it stops in line with where the firewall shelf will be installed. I approached the cut a little differently to avoid having to make a long cut, and to preserve the 'factory' edge on the aluminum sheet. If you angle the sheet so the factory edge runs along the driver's side tunnel top frame tube, you can mark and cut the short rear edge, then mark and cut the other two edges.

Classic R #27 Build Tunnel17

Here's the completed tunnel installation. Next I moved on to the two footwell panels.

Classic R #27 Build Footwe12

The panels are slightly different sizes. The bigger one, 14.25 x 12 goes on the driver's side.

Classic R #27 Build Footwe10
Classic R #27 Build Footwe11

Driver's side footwell panel in place, viewed from both sides.

Classic R #27 Build Footwe15
Classic R #27 Build Footwe14

Passenger side footwell panel in place, viewed from both sides. I need to go back and trim the forward tunnel panel where I bent it. I see that it overhangs the frame tube by a quarter inch or so.

I'm relieved to have that part of the build out of the way. There's still some metalwork to go - side panels and firewall shelf - but I made good progess this week.

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Post by comled on Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:29 am

To make a long story short, the Classic R smooth hood doesn't fit over the L26 engine. I've thought about this for a few days and I can't see any alternative but to modify the hood I have.

Classic R #27 Build Hood-c10

With the frame empty and the hoot seated in its normal position, the hood clearance to the engine mount plate is 21".

However, measuring from the bottom of the engine rubber mount to the top of the UIM on the engine I get 22 3/8". So I've got to find 1 3/8 + from somewhere. I don't want to modify the engine mounts to lower the engine so I suppose that means the space has to come from up above. There are no aftermarket low-profile UIMs for the L26 engine which I guess means I'll have to modify the hood.

Classic R #27 Build Hood-e10

In this picture you can see the approximate line of the hood represented by the green string. The UIM and part of the throttle body clearly interfere with that line.

Classic R #27 Build Measur10

Measuring at the water pump end of the UIM the difference is 1 3/8, as calculated. I'm adding 5/8 as a margin so I'm aiming to raise the hood by 2" in that area.

Classic R #27 Build Hood-e11

I put the hood on and traced round the UIM and throttle body with a pencil.

Classic R #27 Build Traced10

Here's the traced outline. It's about 12" wide at the scuttle end, 6 1/2" at the water pump end and will be 2" high at its highest point. Fortunately it won't end up higher than the windshield field of view. PA state regs are picky in that respect: most states allow an intrusion of 4" but PA only allows 2" of view obstruction forward of the windshield.

Classic R #27 Build Hood-p10

I want to mock this up so I can style it and eventually turn it into a fiberglass part that I can blend into the hood. I started with a sheet of 3/4" MDF and laid out the basic outline. I have no idea whether this will work or not. I've never done any fiberglass work so I'll just wing it and see what happens.

Classic R #27 Build Hood-p11

I made up three layers to give me 2 1/4" height at the water pump end. The scuttle end will be more or less flush with the existing hood.

Classic R #27 Build Hood-p12

Three layers glued up and clamped. Tomorrow I will have at it with the belt sander and start to contour the thing.

While the plug glue set up I went back to working sheet metal. I got one side panel notched, drilled and cleco'd. The side panels are tricky because you've got that curve to bend into them but the build video is clear on what to do and I didn't deviate from its recommendations.

Classic R #27 Build Side-p10

The lower edge is tricky, partly because you're working from underneath and trying to make measurements. I made some temporary shims up to put between the frame and the lower edge of the panel while drilling because the floor isn't in. I made my holes line up with the holes I'd previously drilled in the frame, but I made fewer holes this time, one for every two floor screw holes. Hopefully it will look reasonable when bolted up.

Classic R #27 Build Side-p11

The upper edge is easier. Get the notching right and everything will line up fine. I marked the 'no-drill' zone on the chassis first by positioning the scuttle and marking where each end falls. That area gets one temporary screw hole according to the build video.

Classic R #27 Build Side-p12

The installed panel viewed from inside the car.

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Post by comled on Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:24 am

Yesterday I completed the side panel on the driver's side. It's basically a repeat of the passenger side.

Classic R #27 Build Side-p14

Here's the completed installed panel.

Classic R #27 Build Side-p13

Side panel packing pieces viewed from underneath. When installing the side panels the floors have to be out in order to accommodate the C clamps and wood along the bend as recommended in the build video. Unfortunately it opens up a gap between the bottom edge of the frame and the bottom flange on the side panel. When you cleco it in, the panel will want to deform along its length and bow outward. I found it helpful when clecoing the panel to pack the gap between the panel and the frame with packing pieces cut from scraps of aluminum to prevent it from bowing outward. When the floors go back in these pieces will be removed.

Today I hope to move on to the dash and the scuttle. Cutting the dash out appears simple enough from the build video. I will cover the entire thing with masking tape beforehand to protect the visible face. However, I will probably not end up using the dash that came with the kit. Instead I'll make an aluminum one up. It's going to end up covered with upholstery material hopefully, but if that doesn't work out I want to keep the the kit dash as a contingency. No point in gluing vinyl all over the clean face of the kit dash only to have to strip it and a load of adhesive off later. I'm thinking about adding some contouring (recessing the switch and gauge areas in the dash) using a bead roller but that's subject to the constraints of the frame, gauges, switch sizes and so on.

Looking at the raw dash and frame together yesterday I realized something which is completely obvious but I just hadn't noticed it before: one of the constraints for the size of gauges you can install is the height of the dash opening in the frame. I'm not ordering gauges yet - that's still a way off and I haven't made any sketches or anything - but better to know the constraints now rather than after you've ordered something that isn't going to fit.

Also with the dash in mind, I'm starting to think about whether to relocate the gear shift. While I have the engine in I'll look at the dash, transmission tunnel and shift location as a group and figure something out. As it stands, the gear shift will emerge under the dash. An angled shift lever could move it up and forward somewhat but I'm considering building a shift relocator mechanism to bring the whole thing back a few inches. Since all the controls (steering, pedals, switches, handbrake, gearshift) have to be viewed as a group relative to seat position I won't make a firm decision on the shift relocation yet.

Six feet of 1/2" seamless annealed stainless tubing arrived from McMaster in the mail. I confirmed that it matches the diameter of the fuel hardline in the fuel rail assembly. For the record, it's McMaster P/N 89895K743 (Type 304 Smooth-Bore Seamless Stainless Steel Tubing, 1/2" OD, .444" ID, .028" Wall, 6' Length). I'm hoping seamless tubing will be less inclined to split in the flaring process.

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Post by comled on Fri Jan 22, 2016 7:39 am

I completed the trimming and installation of the kit dash panel. It involves notching the lower corners to fit around the outer chassis tubes, then trimming the top edge to match the dash frame so the scuttle can fit over.

Classic R #27 Build Dash-m10

With everything taped up to avoid scratching the smooth face, I centered the panel over the transmission tunnel and attached the dash with spring clamps.

Classic R #27 Build Dash-m12

My first notch cuts were way undersized at 20/32" so I made a second round of cuts. The notch depth ended up being about an inch each side in order to bring the middle of the dash down so that it touches the transmission tunnel. One thing to be aware of is that the dash flange won't flush up with the bottom of the dash frame. I assumed it would but there's a finger's width of clearance. It's not a problem but for some reason it surprised me.

Classic R #27 Build Dash-m11

With the notches cut out the height should be correct so I traced around the dash frame tubes on the back of the panel and cut along the outer line with a jig saw. The only difficulty I had was getting the jig saw to the line in the each corner because the dash flange gets in the way of the saw foot.

Classic R #27 Build Dash-a10

I test fitted the dash and it's a good fit all the way around. The outside edge is flush with the outside of the dash frame.

Classic R #27 Build Dash-s10

I put the scuttle on to see how it looked. I haven't drilled it for permanent mounting yet, just tacked it on with a couple of spring clamps underneath. I had previously marked on the frame where the back face of the front scuttle flange lies. That's a key line for fitting the firewall shelf, which is the next panel I'll deal with.

Fitting the firewall shelf is an important step because it enables location planning for lot of other components that can potentially be mounted there, plus I can see the clearance between the mass air flow sensor and the firewall and start thinking about how I'll deal with the air filter. I am considering building an air box on the firewall. Additionally, I'll probably put the battery on there - and that's likely to be an Odyssey PC680. I think that choice of battery brings with it the requirement that I fit a battery disconnect somewhere in the electrical system. I've read that it's recommended to do that to avoid draining the battery if the car sits around for any period of time.

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Post by comled on Fri Jan 22, 2016 3:48 pm

Just ordered my gauges from Speedhut. I looked at various suppliers and options before committing on the Speedhut product. I really had hoped to go with Smiths gauges - that's what I grew up with and old habits die hard plus I like the look of them. I couldn't justify the cost though, and there would have been additional complexity with the installation, particularly with the fuel gauge which requires an non-standard (for the US) sender resistance range. A 10V voltage stabilizer would have been required as well. I also looked at VDO, Auto Meter, New Vintage and a couple of other manufacturers. In the end though I couldn't fault Speedhut for value for money and I was able to define pretty much what I wanted including a small Super 7 logo on the speedometer that I filched from somewhere off the internet and reworked. The speedometer and tachometer are 3 3/8" dia gauges; the other are 2 1/16" dia. I chose Legacy Chrome bezels and flat glass. Just for amusement's sake I had the pointer glow red when the gauges are lit. So we'll find out in 10-20 days whether I'm happy with the end result...

Classic R #27 Build Sh-spe10 Classic R #27 Build Sh-tac10Classic R #27 Build Sh-oil10Classic R #27 Build Sh-tem10Classic R #27 Build Sh-vol10Classic R #27 Build Sh-fue10

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Post by comled on Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:01 am

With the engine/transmission temporarily in place and dash lined up, I marked out the location of the shifter on the transmission tunnel. I wanted to see where it falls in relation to the dash.

Classic R #27 Build Shift-10

The outline marked on the transmission tunnel top. Looks slightly off center.

Classic R #27 Build Shift-11

The picture tells the story: it emerges right under the dash extension. To fully clear the dash it needs to move back about 3". I've seen various options in other builds for dealing with this, ranging from accepting it as-is with a cutout in the dash and an angled shift lever all the way through a full-on relocation using a custom-designed mechanism. There are plenty of off-the-shelf T56 shift relocators available, but the T5 parts that exist seem to be destined mostly for Mustangs, which have a slightly different fit arrangement. So this will need a bit of thought.

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Post by comled on Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:50 pm

I can't believe how many months it has been since I last accomplished anything on #27, but finally this weekend I was able to get some time in. I changed jobs at the end of January, adding almost 3 hours a day to my commute, and it's been hard to find time to keep the project going. I just have to nibble away at it when I can.

Over the weekend I worked on a few items including sheet metal in the scuttle area. I'll need a sheet metal structure to mount the core electrical panel on.

Classic R #27 Build Electr10
I made a cardboard template and transferred the dimensions to a sheet of aluminium. Or aluminum if you prefer. I cut out the part with snips and then marked up and drilled the two mounting flanges before bending them in my HF sheet metal bending brake.

Classic R #27 Build Electr12
This weld on the passenger side of the dash hoop needs to be ground flat in order for the sheet metal assembly to fit clean up against it. Since the other side of the dash is going to receive similar sheet metal, I ground that weld flat as well.

Classic R #27 Build Electr11
Here's the formed sheet metal panel in position, the frame drilled and clecos holding it in place. I intend to build a hinged panel that drops down from the middle of this panel to expose the relays and fuses. I am debating where to locate the ECM: one possibility is on the firewall, under the scuttle, at roughly 90 degrees to this panel. Another option is in a similar location on the other side of the car but I worried it may get hot and heat up the footwell. I like the passenger side location but I have to keep enough space available for the wiper motor which is also going into the scuttle area.

Not shown here is the corresponding panel for the driver's side, which needs to be made in two parts in order to accommodate the steering shaft. I may also roll a couple of beads into both panels to give them some rigidity.


2015 Stalker Classic R/L26 in progress
2010 Triumph Bonneville T100
1977 MGB
1973 Norton Commando MkII Interstate
1966 SWB Land Rover Series 2A
1960 Hammond A100
1949 Ford 8N

Posts : 168
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Location : New Hope, PA

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